-Pastor Andrew Russell writes a prayer reflecting on the one year anniversary of the Unite the Right rally events in Charlottesville, VA-
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17
Dear God, who is supreme over all, we as a church cry out to you for help. Lord, as we remember the Unite the Right rally this past Sunday in DC, we ask that you would help us deal with our frustrations, anger, anxieties, and fears. Lord we know that you are a God of peace and unity. Father, the white supremacist groups do not want peace and unity with all. Many of them spread hatred, racism, anti-Semitism, and division. Lord, deliver us from the poisonous darts of disunity that seek to destroy the God-given image that you have endowed everyone with. Lord, remind us that you are for us in our time of discord. Remind us of your powerful love that hatred, white supremacy, and racism cannot separate us from. Remind us of the beauty you bestow upon every human being. Lord, our African-American, Asian, Latin American, Native American, and Jewish brothers and sisters are crushed in spirit. We have seen the damaging effects of racism in our communities and we want restorative justice. Lord, our white brothers and sisters who denounce the rhetoric and ideology of white supremacy want reconciliation and unity. They have seen the damaging effects of family members or extended relatives who promote racism and hate speech and want to end generational sins. Lord deliver them!
Let not those rejoice over me who are wrongfully my foes, and let not those wink the eye who hate me without cause. For they do not speak peace, but against those who are quiet in the land they devise words of deceit. They open wide their mouths against me; they say, ‘Aha, Aha! Our eyes have seen it!’ You have seen, O Lord; be not silent! O Lord, be not far from me! Psalm 35:19-22
Lord God, the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God, we ask that you would not be silent. We ask that you would let your finished work on the cross through your Son, Jesus Christ speak loudly into our hearts and minds. We ask that your Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, would speak life when others have spoken death. Lord move near us and help us as a church to not be silent about injustice, abuse, bigotry, hatred, racism, and division. Lord, help your church to be a voice for the voiceless, a megaphone for the marginalized, a pulpit for the poor.
Lord we speak out against evil and hate speech. We know that out of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34). Lord, we pray that you would change the hearts of every white supremacist who attended last week’s rally and also those who wanted to attend but couldn’t. We pray that you would lead them to repentance, that they would humble themselves before you and ask you to cleanse them from their racism and idolatry. Lord, we know that all sin is against you, and so Lord let them see that they have sinned against you by sinning against those who bear your image. Lord, bring repentance in their homes. Lord, if any of the white supremacists call themselves Christian, then may you reveal your holy presence to them when they meet on Sundays. May the word of God burn in their hearts and minds and may they be exposed before your awesome presence. May they have testimonies like the apostle Paul who persecuted, killed, and imprisoned your people before he saw Jesus. May you give them a ministry of reconciliation and restorative justice that will last for generations to come. Let them see that Jesus died for African Americans, Jews, Native Americans, Asians, Latinos, and every minority that has been marginalized by their hate speech. May they engage in restorative systemic justice that extends from Charlottesville, VA to Washington, DC and all over the many cities and states that they have bases and groups in.
Father, as we close, we lift up to you the families of activist Heather Heyer who died in the car attack and the Virginia State Troopers H. Jay Cullen and Berke M. M. Bates who died in a helicopter crash while bringing aid at the rally in Charlottesville last year. We pray you would wrap your comforting arms around their families as they may be reliving these experiences. May hope and peace abound. May these families have your radical grace to continue to grow in forgiveness. And may we have the same. Lord, hear our prayer.
In Jesus’ Mighty Name, the name that is above every name, we pray.
~Pastor Andrew Russell~